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Southwest Mobile Storage - Best Mobile Storage & Office Containers In Ventura Business District, CA

Southwest Mobile Storage is a family-owned shipping container business founded in 1995. Our strength for more than 25 years comes from the specialized knowledge and passion of our people, along with serving over 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers. Our facility and expertise in maintaining, manufacturing, and delivering corrugated steel containers is unrivaled in the industry.

While the rental side of our business is regional with branches throughout the Southwest, our container sales and modification operations are nationwide and becoming global. Ventura Business District, CA offers a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers you can rent, buy or modify.

Our experts in container rental, sales and customization are committed to providing you the highest quality and best experience from service to delivery - our reputation depends on it.

Whether your need is for storage, office space, moving, multi-purpose or custom use, we've got your back. Here's how:

Storage Containers Ventura Business District, CA

NO MATTER YOUR NEED, WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK.

STORE AT YOUR LOCATION

We bring your storage container to you for convenient, easy access at your home, business or jobsite. Plus, you'll get more choice in storage space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of a pod or add on building, saving money and energy.

STORE AT OUR LOCATION

Not enough room to keep a storage container at your business, home or construction site? No problem - we can store it for you. Plus, you get 70% more space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of public storage units.

CUSTOM STORAGE

Need a permanent storage solution for your business, residence or construction? We sell new and used shipping containers in many sizes with a variety of add-ons. Or customize a container to your specific storage needs with our certified fabrication experts.

LOCAL MOVE

Take your time packing with our moving containers. We'll deliver to your business or home and pick it up whenever you're ready to move. So, you don't have to stress about moving or making multiple trips in one day, like if you rented a moving truck.

LONG-DISTANCE MOVE

Our moving container solutions ensure the long-distance move of your home or business is highly efficient and affordable throughout the southwest. In fact, we usually cost 20%-40% less than full-service movers.

MOVING & STORAGE

We understand move-in and move-out dates might be different. We can store your moving container at our highly secure facilities until you're ready to move to your new home or business location, and you can conveniently access it at any time.

OFFICE USE

Whether you need a workspace, conference room, or other office requirement, our ground-mounted mobile offices meet any and all of your business needs. Plus, it's faster and easier than building additions.

BUSINESS USE

If you need your shipping container to serve multiple uses, such as office-storage combos, breakrooms and even utilities, we've got you covered. We'll modify a custom container to fit your business needs and bring your business to the next level

CUSTOM USE

We'll create a custom container to fit your unique needs anywhere in the US. With our container modification expertise, we make any idea a reality. From pop-up stores to multi-story structures, our unrivaled facilities and fabrication experts do it all.

You'll get your own dedicated storage and container expert to serve as your one point of contact for easy, convenient service you can trust.
With our wide selection of intermodal containers for sale and rent, you'll find exactly what you need, from size, to type and condition.
We maintain our rental fleet to the highest standard - our integrity depends on it.
Our certified, experienced Conex container modification experts have more than 500 years combined experience modifying ISO containers.
All of our containers come with high security dual-locking system for no additional charge, so you can rest assured your stored items stay safe and that you don't have to pay extra for it.
icon-scale
At our unrivaled 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, ensuring your custom shipping container is made exactly to your specifications.
With our level of service, quality and expertise, you won't find a better value anywhere else.
Our portable offices include lighting and electrical outlets, internet hookups, HVAC and were crafted by our in-house steel container fabrication experts for top-quality construction.

Premium Quality - High Security

With Southwest Mobile Storage, you get much more than a POD or typical Conex box. You also get high security, unparalleled service and unmatched container modification expertise and facilities. No other company offers that much.

Shipping containers and storage containers come in a range of sizes. The most common external lengths are 20ft and 40ft with a width of 8ft. ISO Containers are typically 8ft 6in tall, but high cube containers are 9ft 6in tall. We also have steel containers in a variety of sizes from 10ft long to 45ft long to rent or buy, and we can modify shipping containers into any size you want.

 Rent Storage Containers Ventura Business District, CA

SMS Mobile Storage Containers have these high quality features:

1/8" thick steel plate bottom side rails
High strength steel supporting cross members
1 1/8" thick hardwood floor with galvanized self-tapping screws
16-gauge corrugated steel walls
16-gauge roof
270-degree swing cargo door(s)
High security dual-locking system*
Spot-grinded, primed & repainted with a beige high-grade water reducible alkyd direct-to-metal enamel*
* Comes standard on all rental units

SMS portable workspace containers have these structural features:

High security window bars, lever & deadbolt set with lock box
Studs & R-19 Insulation covered with wood paneling
1 1/8" marine board floor is covered with a durable single part gray epoxy coating
Dual pane low-E horizontal sliding windows with screens and miniblinds
18 Gauge steel polystyrene core 3-hour fire rated personnel door
All of our workspaces are refurbished grade or better
Exterior load center operating on 100 Amp single phase 230 Volt power
Light switch, receptacles and 4' light fixtures; all wiring is Romex 12/2
CAT-6 voice and data lines with electrical junction box
HVAC units ranging from 1 ton to 2 ton on rentals; ability to customize up to 10 tons of cooling

Having flexible storage containers options is important, but security is crucial to protect your peace of mind and your possessions.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we don't believe in leaving things to chance. We want you to rest easy knowing your inventory, documents, tools, equipment and other items are safe 24/7. That is why we equip SMS high-security slide bolt locking systems and lockboxes on our entire fleet of rental freight containers.

EVERY ONE OF OUR MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINERS FOR RENT IN Ventura Business District, CA, INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING SAFETY MEASURES:

High-security slide-bolt locking system and extra-long lock box, giving you twice the security and peace of mind.
No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and water-tight.
No rust for your safety.
14-gauge corrugated steel for strength and reinforcement.

Contact us to speak with a helpful, friendly representative to better understand our full range of capabilities. We are happy to answer any questions you have, go over pricing and set up a time and place to deliver your Conex box. Our quotes are 100% free and you are under no obligation to pay for your consultation.

COMMERCIAL STORAGE CONTAINERS TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY IN Ventura Business District, CA

When you own a business or manage one, it's crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it's to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market, like the many caused by the pandemic.

Renting storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. Steel containers with roll up doors make storing and retrieving items faster and easier. Auto repair shops and other businesses that need easy access throughout the workday to secure storage for tools, parts, equipment or supplies find renting shipping containers to be the best solution for their business storage needs. Southwest Mobile Storage has your back.

 Storage Containers For Rent Ventura Business District, CA

Renting portable offices gives your business more workspace, breakrooms, pop up stores, security booths and more, without the cost and red tape associated with constructing building additions. Plus, a steel storage container fits neatly into one parking space and provides much stronger security than Pods and way more convenience than self-storage units.

If you have a specific need, we can modify shipping containers to build whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it's a portable workspace to run your business, like a pop-up container bar, or a durable facility for scientific research, like a container laboratory, or even a container gym, our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification experts got you covered. Our full-time, in-house staff of certified welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters and painters have over 500 years combined experience modifying thousands of container projects for just about any business use you can imagine.

WHETHER YOUR BUSINESS IS COMMERCIAL, HEALTHCARE, GOVERNMENT OR EDUCATION, OR YOUR INTEREST IS TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY SHIPPING CONTAINERS, SMS HAS YOU COVERED:

One
Offsite storage alternatives cause a mess of hassles and headaches. Expanding office space and storage capacity at your location saves time, money and hassle of making multiple trips offsite.
We offer more choice in security, size and features in steel Conex boxes or ISO shipping containers than a public storage unit or Pod for less cost and far greater service.
We offer flexible, month-to-month rental agreements and prorate by the day after your first 28-day billing cycle.
With us, you get a dedicated account manager you can rely on, so you can focus on running your business than waste time with a different person every time you call that doesn't know or care as much.
While other companies may have some staff for modifying containers, most outsource the work, so you don't know who is actually doing the modifications or how much they're marking up the price.
 Mobile Storage Containers Ventura Business District, CA
When you modify a shipping container for your business, you won't have to worry about expensive, lengthy and complicated construction.
We have modified thousands of containers nationwide and internationally for more than 25 years for NASA, US Navy, GCP Applied Technologies, Helix and Sundt to name a few. And rent containers to Amazon, Walmart and many of other nationally recognized brands.
Our extensive staff makes it possible to custom build multiple projects simultaneously and our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility prevents contaminants from interfering with fabrication, which delivers better quality and precision.

CUSTOM CONTAINERS FOR YOUR HOME IN Ventura Business District, CA

Building additions to your home can be very expensive and requires going through the hassle of securing permits and waiting for construction. You can save money, time and stress by modifying a shipping container instead. Whether you need additional space for a home gym, recreation or storage, we can convert steel containers into anything you can imagine. Our custom container gyms, man-caves or she-sheds, garages and more give you the extra space you need without the hassle, cost and wait that comes with home renovation.

Renting shipping containers for temporary storage, either when moving or dealing with restoration from a fire or flood, provides a secure, convenient way to keep your belongings close for accessing them whenever you need to. Plus, renting mobile storage containers for moving costs less than traditional movers and allows you to take your time packing, reducing the stress that comes from moving. You can also rent portable offices for your home to make working remotely distraction-free.

 Rent Shipping Containers Ventura Business District, CA

HERE'S WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE US TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY A SHIPPING CONTAINER FOR YOUR HOME:

With an extensive in-house staff and 90,000 sq ft container modification facility, we're able to deliver consistently high quality and work on multiple projects simultaneously for a fast turnaround.

Other companies don't have the facility, staff or resources to modify shipping containers and will outsource the work to various shops who may not have the special experience or tools needed to modify the right way.

You can rest assured knowing your custom container is safe in our hands. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.

Renting a moving container from us makes your move much less stressful because you won't have to rush to pack your whole house into a moving truck in one day. Instead, you can take your time packing over the course of a month.

Our ISO shipping containers are weatherproof and come with vault-like security, so you don't have to worry about theft or damage to your belongings.

You won't get that level of security from U-Haul or other moving truck companies.

Renting a storage container at your home keeps your belongings close and gives you convenient 24/7 access, so you're always able to retrieve the contents of your container when you need to.

We know move in and move out dates don't always line up. We can store your packed rental container at our secure facility until your new home is ready.

With our mobile storage containers for rent in Ventura Business District, CA, you can save up to 40% when compared to full-service long-distance movers, while gaining more flexibility in your schedule.

MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINERS & PORTABLE OFFICES TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY IN Ventura Business District, CA

We know your needs may change suddenly. With our extensive inventory and variety of sizes of portable offices and shipping containers to rent, buy or modify in Ventura Business District, CA, we provide fast service and the best value possible so it's easy for you to get whatever you need when you need it.

Renting storage containers and portable offices from us gives you more flexibility when it comes to your schedule and options. If you don't have enough space at your current location or simply would prefer offsite storage, you can keep your rental storage and office containers at your location or ours - whichever is most convenient for you. You also get more options to choose from when it comes to size and features, like portable offices with divided rooms for private meetings or office/storage combos for storage and office space in one container. All while costing a fraction of the price of a pod or self-storage facility.

You can also buy new or used freight containers from us and choose from a variety of add-ons, including lights, electricity, doors and windows. Or fully customize a shipping container to save time, money and energy by skipping the expensive, lengthy process of constructing building additions. We can modify a Conex box into whatever you can imagine for any use you need, from construction tool cribs to office buildings, monitoring stations, mobile communication towers and much more. The possibilities are endless.

HERE'S HOW WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK:

You'll never face hidden fees or surprises with us. We give you transparent billing up front at the best prices.

With us, you get a reliable, dedicated point of contact, who keeps you updated every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you'll always get what you need, when you need it.

No other company has the breadth and depth of staff and experience that we do when it comes to modifying shipping containers. Our certified welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters have more than 500 years of combined experience in fabricating custom steel containers.

We prorate your rent by the day after the first 28-day billing cycle, so you don't have to pay for a full month when you only have your mobile containers and offices for a few days.

While other companies may be able to do small container modifications, most don't have an in-house fabrication staff or 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility like we do. As a result, they outsource the work on your custom container, so you don't know who's actually building it.

Rest assured knowing your modified shipping container will be built to the highest quality standards. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors check every step of the fabrication process to ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications.

HOW RENTING A STORAGE CONTAINER AND MOBILE OFFICE WORKS

Whether you're in need of a storage container for your commercial business, a portable office for your construction site, or a moving container for your home, our process is simple and straightforward.

Choose Your Container

Choose the mobile storage solution that works best for your needs. In this step, you will let us know the number of containers you need, their sizes and what types of doors to equip.

Choose Your Options

Let us know if you would like to add any of our rental options, like a folding table or shelving.

Choose Your Security

Choose from padlocks, puck locks and other enhanced security options. All of our storage containers come standard with dual-locking, vault-like security.

Choose Your Delivery Timeframe

You can expect standard delivery within 3-5 days of your order. If you need expedited delivery, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.

Pick-Up Planning

Do you need to keep your shipping container at our location? Prefer to have our team deliver your packed container to a location of your choice? Let us know, and we'll be by your side to work out the logistics.

HOW RENTING A STORAGE CONTAINER AND MOBILE OFFICE WORKS

1

DETERMINE DESTINATION

Let our team know where we should deliver your mobile storage container for rent in Ventura Business District, CA. Be sure to let us know if there are any special conditions that might prevent our drivers from entering your chosen destination. Before you schedule your delivery, let us know which direction you would like the doors of your container to face.

2

SCHEDULE DATE & TIME

Our drivers can deliver your storage container Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6AM and 2PM local time. Our two-hour delivery window is the most precise in the industry. If you desire another delivery time outside of our standard delivery options, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. As a courtesy, our driver will call you at least 30 minutes before they arrive at your drop-off destination.

3

PREPARE FOR YOUR MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINER DELIVERY

Before we deliver your Conex box, prepare your delivery area by ensuring that there are no low overhangs, arches, wires, trees or any other obstacles that could interfere with your delivery. It's a good idea to mark the space where you would like your steel container placed.

4

DELIVERY & SETUP

When our driver arrives, they will back our truck into the space where you would like your shipping container placed. Once we arrive, we will ensure that your container is delivered safely and securely. If placed on asphalt or pavement, we will use wood dunnage pads to make sure your ground surface is protected and the container is level.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT MOBILE CONTAINERS TO Rent, Buy OR Modify IN Ventura Business District, CA?

Check out our FAQ page or reach out to our helpful customer service team today @

909.341.4736

Latest News in Ventura Business District, CA

Legal Actions Challenge Huge Logging Project in Los Padres National Forest

For Immediate Release, April 27, 2022 Contact: Jeff Kuyper, Los Padres ForestWatch, (805) 770-3401, jeff@LPFW.org Maggie Hall, Environmental Defense Center, (805) 705-1481, mhall@environmentaldefensecenter.orgJustin Augustine, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 910-9214, jaugustine@biologicaldiversity.orgRichard Halsey, California Chaparral Institute, (760) 822-0029, rwh@californiachaparral.orgAlasdair Coyne, Keep Sespe Wild, (805) 921-0618, se...

For Immediate Release, April 27, 2022

Contact:

Jeff Kuyper, Los Padres ForestWatch, (805) 770-3401, jeff@LPFW.org Maggie Hall, Environmental Defense Center, (805) 705-1481, mhall@environmentaldefensecenter.orgJustin Augustine, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 910-9214, jaugustine@biologicaldiversity.orgRichard Halsey, California Chaparral Institute, (760) 822-0029, rwh@californiachaparral.orgAlasdair Coyne, Keep Sespe Wild, (805) 921-0618, sespecoyne@gmail.comJ.J. Huggins, Patagonia, john.huggins@patagonia.com

Three Lawsuits Filed Against Forest Service for Failing to Protect Environment, Cultural Resources on Pine Mountain, Reyes Peak

VENTURA, Calif.— A coalition of environmental, business and recreational organizations — joined by the county of Ventura and the city of Ojai — filed suit in federal court today to challenge a commercial logging and vegetation removal project atop Pine Mountain and Reyes Peak in the Los Padres National Forest.

The project area — equivalent in size to 575 U.S. football fields — is located on ancestral lands of the Chumash. It is historically and culturally important to Indigenous people, popular with locals and tourists for a range of recreational activities, designated critical habitat for the endangered California condor, and home to other sensitive wildlife, rare plants, old-growth conifer forests and unique ecosystems.

As today’s legal actions against the U.S. Forest Service note, more than one-third of the project area is in a protected roadless area that has never been degraded by commercial logging or other industrial activities. The area is proposed for wilderness protection under the bipartisan Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (H.R. 2199), now awaiting final approval in the Senate.

“We’re proud to stand with Indigenous leaders, local businesses, conservation and recreation groups, and city and county governments in demanding a more thoughtful environmental review of this harmful project,” said Los Padres ForestWatch executive director Jeff Kuyper. “Pine Mountain must be protected, not offered up to logging companies using loopholes that make a mockery of our bedrock environmental laws.”

“There is no question that Reyes Peak will be adversely affected by this logging project, which authorizes the removal of large trees in an area that includes unique ‘sky island’ habitat, sacred cultural sites, potential wilderness, and sensitive wildlife,” said Maggie Hall, a senior attorney at the Environmental Defense Center. “The Forest Service’s approval of the project despite these impacts violates several important environmental laws.”

“This commercial logging project will hack a brutal scar through one of Los Padres National Forest’s most beautiful roadless areas,” said Justin Augustine, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Forest Service wants to let chainsaws chew up old-growth conifers and crucial habitat for wildlife. It’s immoral, it’s illegal, and we hope to stop it in court.”

“Los Padres Forest seems to have no concern about logging many thousands of old-growth conifers from Pine Mountain,” said Alasdair Coyne, conservation director at Keep Sespe Wild. “These ‘sky islands’ of giant trees only survive at the rare high elevation peaks of Southern California’s national forests. Threatened by climate change, they need protection, not logging.”

“Pine Mountain is 90 minutes from our corporate headquarters in Ventura and the area is important to our employees and customers because of its outdoor recreation opportunities including rock climbing, hiking and camping,” said Hans Cole, head of Environmental Activism at Patagonia. “This mountain is also home to old-growth conifers and some of the most diverse and unique habitats in the Los Padres National Forest. We have opposed this project since it was unveiled in 2020, we have been advocating for more conservation of this area since the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate in 2017, and we have been supporting the grassroots environmentalists protecting Los Padres National Forest since 2004.”

The project would allow unlimited mechanized cutting and removal of live and dead trees of any age up to 2 feet in diameter and an undisclosed number of trees up to 5 feet in diameter, as well as the destruction of chaparral across 755 acres.

The lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. They assert violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, Roadless Area Conservation Rule, Endangered Species Act, and National Forest Management Act, and they take aim at the Forest Service’s failure to collaborate with stakeholders.

Such collaboration is required whenever the Forest Service relies on a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act to expedite a project. Originally designed for small maintenance projects like painting buildings, categorical exclusions allow forest officials to bypass standard requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act to consider project alternatives and conduct a detailed study of potential impacts on the area’s unique ecosystems — studies the plaintiffs say are crucial to the protection of important environmental, recreational, and cultural resources.

The plaintiffs claim that the Forest Service violated the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule’s prohibition on the removal of larger trees. The suit also asserts violations of the Endangered Species Act for allowing the removal of an unlimited number of large trees in which endangered California condors roost, providing places to rest during long flights across the landscape. The project would also harm rare California spotted owls, northern goshawks, rare plants, and two species of bats whose populations are declining.

The plaintiffs also say that the project violates the National Forest Management Act because the agency failed to comply with the Los Padres National Forest Plan standards that protect scenic integrity and the natural character of the area. Clearing thousands of trees and hundreds of acres of chaparral on Pine Mountain, an area prized for its natural beauty and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, is a drastic elimination of native vegetation with effects that will linger for generations and is not allowed under the 2005 Forest Plan for the Los Padres National Forest.

The project was approved over the objections of local elected officials, Indigenous leaders, scientists, more than 30 area businesses, 70 environmental and social justice organizations, and 15,000 members of the public. Those objections amounted to a multitude of comments many times greater than any single project in Los Padres National Forest has received. Despite this unprecedented level of community opposition, the Forest Service failed to make any meaningful changes to the project and approved it in September 2021.

The project is part of a spate of proposals issued during the Trump administration when timber targets were increased, the use of categorical exclusions was encouraged, and the price that timber companies paid for lumber harvested on certain public lands was lowered. Three similar projects have been proposed in the immediate region, including a project along Tecuya Ridge in which a panel of federal appeals court judges recently found the Forest Service in violation of the Roadless Rule. Another, on Mount Pinos, is scheduled for approval this summer.

The organizations filing the lawsuit are Los Padres ForestWatch, Keep Sespe Wild Committee, Earth Island Institute, and American Alpine Club, collectively represented by the Environmental Defense Center, along with the Center for Biological Diversity, California Chaparral Institute, and Patagonia Works, represented by the Center for Biological Diversity. The county of Ventura and the city of Ojai each filed similar suits simultaneously with the other plaintiff groups. The cases will likely be combined and considered together.

For more information about the logging project, a list of frequently asked questions, ways to donate to the legal fund, and a list of partners, allies, and elected officials who are calling for the protection of Pine Mountain, visit protectpinemountain.org.

Millions of dollars flow into oil ballot measures as industry spends heavily

Editor's note: This story is one in a series on the June 7 primary. For more coverage, visit vcstar.com/news/elections.Oil interests have spent more than $4 million on the costliest known ballot measures in Ventura County history to block new restrictions on drilling projects, a newly released financial report shows.The campaign committee trying to persuade voters to reject the proposed ...

Editor's note: This story is one in a series on the June 7 primary. For more coverage, visit vcstar.com/news/elections.

Oil interests have spent more than $4 million on the costliest known ballot measures in Ventura County history to block new restrictions on drilling projects, a newly released financial report shows.

The campaign committee trying to persuade voters to reject the proposed rules has raised $7.3 million from Aera Energy, Chevron and a petroleum trade association since the effort began a year and a half ago. About $5.8 million has come in since January alone, says a 42-page campaign report filed Thursday by the industry committee called Working Families for Jobs and Energy Independence.

The referendums will appear as Measures A and B on the June 7 primary ballot. A "yes" vote on Measure A allows the restrictions adopted by the Board of Supervisors in November 2020 to go into effect in the coastal areas. A "no" vote stops them. Measure B asks the same questions for the inland portions of the county.

They affect only the unincorporated areas of the county, the territory where oil drilling is concentrated.

The measures would impose new permit requirements for oil and gas development, including the drilling of wells and re-drilling and deepening of wells.

Aera, which operates a large production facility north of Ventura, has contributed $6.5 million. Chevron has donated $750,000 and the California Independent Petroleum Association has given $50,000. No donations from individuals are listed in the oil-backed campaign's fund-raising.

VC-SAFE, the group trying to pass the measures, reported dozens of donations since January from individuals, including environmental activists and retirees. But its largest donation at $450,000 came from Patagonia Works, an outdoor apparel and gear business based in Ventura.

Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert said the contribution is in keeping with the company's commitment to mitigate the impacts of climate and ecological crisis.

While the oil companies have "a ton at stake," they're on the wrong side of history, he said late Friday afternoon.

"The bottom line is permits that were issued in the '40s, '50s and '60s that never expire and never have to undergo any environmental review," he said.

Representatives of oil firms say their operations are reviewed by dozens of local, state and federal agencies for environmental and other reasons, and that the land-use controls proposed in the referendums are unnecessary. Some say the restrictions would shutter the industry in the county but have not provided proof.

Measures A and B would change county law on the permitting process for all new oil and gas development, according to an independent legal analysis by the office of the County Counsel, which advises the Board of Supervisors. But County Counsel Tiffany North said that in practice the amendments would only apply to what are called "antiquated" permits. Those permits were issued from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s, often without expiration dates or limits on the number of wells.

They were approved before a state law was passed that requires environmental impact studies on certain projects. About 80 active antiquated permits covering 2,800 active and idled wells still exist around the county, estimates show.

Funding from the oil industry has gone toward a successful petition drive to get the measures on the ballot, polling, political consulting and both online and traditional campaigning, reports show. Roughly $2 million remained as of April 23, according to the cash balance reported by the committee.

In contrast, the committee trying to pass the measures had spent less than $14,000 and raised about $540,000 since the start of the year. Voters can expect to see the first mailers next week and digital ads are just going up now, said Tomás Morales Rebecchi, treasurer of the VC-SAFE campaign.

Rebecchi expects the oil interests will raise additional funds, but said he's confident that his side will win if people hear the message.

"We're going to give it everything we've got," he said.

Spokesman Ben Oakley declined to comment on the numbers shown in the latest report filed by the energy producers.

"We will let those speak for themselves," he said Friday.

He also declined to speak on the question of why there have been no contributions from individuals, although he has argued in the past that the measures had wide support based on the tens of thousands of voters who signed petitions to send the issue to the ballot.

Oakley said he did not know if any individuals were asked to give.

"We're pleased with the reaction we're seeing (to the campaign)," he said. "We feel like we're running a good campaign."

The reports filed Thursday were the first regular reports before the June 7 election. The next one is due May 26.

Spending of $4 million surpasses what was the highest spending campaign in local election history. That came in 2000 when about $3 million was spent over a defeated initiative that would have shifted to private hospitals control of the county's share of national tobacco settlement money.

To see the reports on the oil measures, visit https://ssl.netfile.com/static/agency/vco/. Enter the public portal, click on the June 7 primary election and then click on measures.

June 7 primary election

Ventura County will be conducting the election under a new California Voter's Choice Act model that allows voters to choose how, when and where to cast their ballots.

Ballots: Mail-in ballots are sent to all registered voters starting May 9.

When and where to vote: Mail or drop off ballots by June 7 or vote in person May 28 – June 7 at county voting centers. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except for Election Day, when they run from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can vote early in-person beginning May 9 at the Ventura County Elections Division office on the bottom floor of the county's Hall of Administration, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura.

Voter registration deadlines: Online by May 23 and in-person through June 7.

To check registration status: voterstatus.sos.ca.gov

Kathleen Wilson covers the Ventura County government, including the county health system, politics and social services. Reach her at kathleen.wilson@vcstar.com or 805-437-0271.

Guest column: International student program provides a world of experience

Your TurnWith more than 400 two- and four-year institutions of higher education within the state, California is a top destination for international students who seek to take advantage of our high quality of education.People commonly think international students set their sights on four-year colleges or universities. However, community college is an excellent planned destination for international students because of its affordability and wide range of programs.Community colleges began looking beyond our country’s bo...

Your Turn

With more than 400 two- and four-year institutions of higher education within the state, California is a top destination for international students who seek to take advantage of our high quality of education.

People commonly think international students set their sights on four-year colleges or universities. However, community college is an excellent planned destination for international students because of its affordability and wide range of programs.

Community colleges began looking beyond our country’s borders in the 1980s and 1990s, according to an American Council on Education report. Nationwide, “community colleges represent approximately 10% of the total international enrollment in degree-granting U.S. higher education institutions,” noted the 2020 report.

More than 12,800 students from around the globe enrolled in the state’s community colleges in fall 2021, according to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. Locally, approximately 140 students, from nearly 20 nations, attend Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura colleges through the Ventura County Community College District’s International Student Program. The students come from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America.

Districtwide, international students major primarily in business or computer science. However, there is an increased interest in multimedia and film and television classes. We are also seeing interest in the hospitality and hospitality management programs at Oxnard and Moorpark colleges and business and collegiate sports at Ventura College.

The district plans to grow the international student program because it provides learning benefits to both students who live in Ventura County and students from abroad.

Many international students enroll at our colleges because they want to start their degree at a school where they receive more attention, save tuition money and participate in cultural experiences before transferring to a university to pursue a bachelor’s degree. They may want to play competitive sports at the collegiate level. Others may want to meet new people and immerse themselves in the “California lifestyle” that is minutes from a big city and coastal and mountain activities.

As companies and industries become increasingly global, international students also benefit from studying abroad by being exposed to other cultures.

Whatever their reasons, these students will benefit from a college experience offering high-quality education. They will also enhance our campuses by bringing a wide array of customs and diverse perspectives.

Our colleges support international students through a comprehensive program that empowers them to achieve their academic goals. These opportunities put international students on the right path to earning their associate degree and completing their education at a four-year university.

VCCCD offers support services tailored to an international student’s needs. Program experts guide students through the application process and advise them on the forms required to study in the U.S. In addition, students must attend a day-long orientation, where they meet with the program’s staff to learn about registration, how to maintain their visa status and find a job on campus.

The international program also offers tutoring, counseling, mentorship and access to intercollegiate sports and clubs, where international students can establish lifelong ties with their peers and build a network.

VCCCD colleges provide personalized guidance from faculty and staff committed to international students to ensure academic success and help them to become familiar with the American higher education system before they transfer to a university to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Both California State University Channel Islands and California Lutheran University have established transfer agreements with VCCCD colleges. These agreements enable international students to continue their studies at these institutions, oftentimes with scholarships.

Once students complete their associate degree or certificate of achievement, they are eligible to apply for optional practical training (OPT). Through federal law, OPT allows qualified international students to work in the United States for 12 months or more in an industry related to their field of study. This provides international students with hands-on experiences in their major and added value to potential employers back home.

Students from abroad are not the only ones who benefit from the VCCCD International Student Program. American students, faculty, staff and other residents in our community can gain valuable insights and experiences from international students. Meaning that everyone can attain an appreciation of different cultures and grow to understand and respect differences in ideas, behavior and customs that exist worldwide.

Greg Gillespie, Ph.D., is the chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District. For more information about the District, visit VCCCD.edu.

Patagonia Joins Lawsuit Against Forest Service to Stop Logging in Los Padres Nat’l Forest

A forest thinning project approved by the U.S. Forest Service threatens to cut down virgin forests on two California peaks. A host of entities, including Patagonia, aim to stop what they call the ‘commercial logging’ initiative.About 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles, two peaks thrust skyward from California’s Los Padres National Forest. Some forests ...

A forest thinning project approved by the U.S. Forest Service threatens to cut down virgin forests on two California peaks. A host of entities, including Patagonia, aim to stop what they call the ‘commercial logging’ initiative.

About 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles, two peaks thrust skyward from California’s Los Padres National Forest. Some forests at the top of Reyes Peak (7,514 feet) and Pine Mountain (9,648 feet) are “virgin,” which means that they are free of roads and have never experienced commercial logging or any other industrial activity.

Now, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has opened an area equivalent to 575 football fields for a forest management project there — primarily, it says, for forest health and wildfire defense.

In response, a coalition of environmental, business, and recreational organizations is joining some local officials in taking exception. In a statement, the coalition called the measure a “commercial logging project.”

On Wednesday, April 27, Patagonia joined Los Padres ForestWatch, the County of Ventura, the City of Ojai, and others in filing multiple lawsuits against the USFS over its logging plan. The coalition claims that one-third of the lands are virgin, and the USFS’s ingress would negatively impact the area, which is significant to endangered species, Tribes, and outdoor enthusiasts.

“Pine Mountain is 90 minutes from our corporate headquarters in Ventura and the area is important to our employees and customers because of its outdoor recreation opportunities including rock climbing, hiking and camping,” said Hans Cole, head of environmental activism at Patagonia.

Cole added, “This mountain is also home to old-growth conifers and some of the most diverse and unique habitats in the Los Padres National Forest. We have opposed this project since it was unveiled in 2020, and we have been supporting the grassroots environmentalists protecting Los Padres National Forest since 2004.”

The Accusations: Patagonia, Activists & More

The proposed project area is located on ancestral Chumash lands. The opposing coalition notes that the site is:

The area may also soon fall under federally protected jurisdiction. The bipartisan Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (H.R. 2199), now awaiting final approval in the Senate, would include protections for the lands.

The USFS project would subject 755 acres to multiple clearing methods. And the proposal would allow unlimited mechanized cutting and removal of any living or dead trees measuring up to 2 feet in diameter. It permits the cutting of an undisclosed number of trees up to 5 feet in diameter, and sanctions the destruction of chaparral across all 755 acres.

In response, the USFS cites the need for better planning and preparedness to combat wildfires in the area — among other issues (see below).

“The purpose of the project is to provide safe and effective locations from which to perform fire suppression operations, to slow the spread of a wildland fire at these strategic fuel-break locations, and to reduce the potential for the loss of life, property, and natural resources,” the service said of the Reyes Peak initiative.

Allegations Explained

The coalition alleges violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Roadless Area Conservation Rule, Endangered Species Act, and National Forest Management Act.

It also takes aim at what it calls the Forest Service’s “failure to collaborate with stakeholders.” The USFS relied on a “categorical exclusion” under NEPA to expedite the project, which requires certain collaboration procedures. Per the coalition, the USFS did not meet the regulations.

The coalition said the categorical exclusion process focuses on small projects like painting government buildings on parklands. The process allows forest officials to bypass various environmental audit requirements under the NEPA. Los Padres ForestWatch first challenged the Forest Service’s use of the measure back in 2020.

The coalition also claims that the USFS violated the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule’s prohibition on removing large trees. And it says the project violates the Endangered Species Act, because California condors roost in the larger trees scheduled for “unlimited” removal.

And the project would harm rare California spotted owls, northern goshawks, rare plants, and two species of bats experiencing population declines, according to the complaint.

In a final allegation, the coalition says the USFS violated the National Forest Management Act because it failed to comply with Los Padres National Forest Plan standards that protect scenic integrity and the natural character of the area. It called the measures “a drastic elimination” of native vegetation.

Widespread Opposition

According to the coalition, the USFS approved the project over the objection of local elected officials, Indigenous leaders, scientists, more than 30 area businesses, 70 environmental and social justice organizations, and 15,000 members of the public.

Total objections, it claims, amounted to by far the greatest response any single project in Los Padres National Forest has received. Despite the unprecedented engagement, the Forest Service did not make any meaningful changes to the project and approved it in September 2021.

The USFS, meanwhile, said on its website in October 2021 that it had “reviewed, analyzed and catalogued these comments and determined there were no extraordinary circumstances that would lead to significant effects.”

The agency added, “The purpose and need of this project detailed the serious and growing threat of both uncontrolled wildfire in this area and the potential for the loss of life, property, and natural resources.”

The Defense: USFS Documents

So, is the USFS planning to commercially log virgin old-growth conifer forest on Tribal lands that’s a habitat for multiple endangered species?

The answer looks somewhat more complicated than an easy yes or no.

The agency states, “The primary goal of this project is to reduce tree densities and promote forest resilience to insect and disease, persistent drought, and wildfire. To address these threats, professional Forest managers will selectively thin specific areas to enhance forest health” in the area.

Based on the 25-page proposal, titled “Reyes Peak Forest Health and Fuels Reduction Project,” wildfire safety for community members and their property is the project’s key motivating factor. Secondary objectives include habitat conservation for threatened species like California condors and goshawks and, ultimately, to “create forests more resistant to the effects of drought, insect and disease outbreaks, and stand-killing crown fires.”

Specifically, the project will allow for “mechanical and hand thinning” of small diameter (< 24 inches) and dead trees from what it calls “densely packed stands.” Trees between 24-inch and 64-inch diameters would stay put unless they pose a safety risk. Then, prescribed burning will reduce ground biomass.

Selling the resulting timber appears to be a procedural byproduct and a cost remediation measure.

Because cutting trees and leaving them on the ground does not help mitigate the fire hazard, the agency said, the project includes a clause to remove the trees through a commercial sale. If a willing buyer is interested, that buyer could pay for the removal of the downed trees from the forest.

Any revenue generated through a sale would then help offset what the agency called “a small portion” of the project cost.

It’s unclear whether contractors will be able to cut trees with their own crews. But the USFS has firmly positioned itself to manage the project — and to comply with the plan, all workers in the forest will have to complete USFS training intended to protect California condors.

Forest Service Plans to Protect Endangered Species

While the plaintiffs argue that the USFS proposal violates the Endangered Species Act by threatening California condor habitat, the plan does include protections for condors and other threatened birds in the Los Padres National Forest.

The documents say the project will “avoid or minimize disturbance to breeding and roosting California condors by prohibiting or restricting management activities and human uses within 1.5 miles of active California condor nest sites and within 0.5 miles of active roosts.”

Goshawks and spotted owls receive less stringent protections, but still get a buffer, especially during their nesting and breeding seasons.

Also, workers would undergo “hazing” training to keep any condors attracted to work sites out of harm’s way. “[H]azing measures would be implemented to avoid the possibility that the birds would become habituated to human activities, which poses a risk to their well-being,” the proposal says.

Similar Projects May Play a Role

The coalition said the project exemplifies a series of Trump Administration proposals that increased timber targets, encouraged categorical exclusions, and lowered the price that timber companies paid for lumber harvested on certain public lands.

In another project in the same region, in Tecuya Ridge, a panel of federal appeals court judges recently found the USFS violated the Roadless Rule.

The group filed all three Pine Mountain/Reyes Peak lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. The court will likely combine the cases and consider them together.

American Alpine Club Policy Manager Taylor Luneau, whose organization also took up the suit, hopes the lawsuit will force the USFS into more circumspect behavior on future projects.

“The Reyes Peak Project … undermines several of our most prized environmental laws,” Luneau said. “We hope this legal challenge will protect the recreation experience and the many natural and cultural resources of Pine Mountain, as well as encourage the Forest Service to more intentionally look before they leap.”

Drink Beer, Plant a Tree: Cerveza Patagonia Launches Reforestation Campaign

Anheuser-Busch's Cerveza Patagonia launches into markets across the U.S. with two initiatives aimed at revitalizing America's national forests. Read more…

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.

About 6M Californians ordered to cut water use amid drought

(AP) — Southern California’s gigantic water supplier has taken the unprecedented step of requiring about 6 million people to cut their outdoor watering to one day a week as an extended drought plagues the state following another dry winter.The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday declared a water shortage emergency and is requiring certain cities and water agencies it supplies to implement the cutback on June 1 and enforce it or face hefty fines.“We don’t have enough...

(AP) — Southern California’s gigantic water supplier has taken the unprecedented step of requiring about 6 million people to cut their outdoor watering to one day a week as an extended drought plagues the state following another dry winter.

The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday declared a water shortage emergency and is requiring certain cities and water agencies it supplies to implement the cutback on June 1 and enforce it or face hefty fines.

“We don’t have enough water supplies right now to meet normal demand. The water is not there,” district spokesperson Rebecca Kimitch said. “This is unprecedented territory. We’ve never done anything like this before.”

The Metropolitan Water District restrictions apply to areas of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties that rely mostly on state water supplied through the district, including some parts of the city of Los Angeles. The affected areas are primarily urban.

The goal of the limitation on using water for grassy yards, plants and things such as cleaning cars is to save water now for indoor use later in the summer when water use increases, Adel Hagekhalil, the general manager of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Water District uses water from the Colorado River and the State Water Project — a vast storage and delivery system — to supply 26 public water agencies that provide water to 19 million people, or 40% of the state’s population.

But record dry conditions have strained the system, lowering reservoir levels, and the State Water Project — which gets its water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — has estimated it will be capable of delivering only about 5% of its usual allocation, for the second consecutive year.

January, February and March of this year were the driest three months in recorded state history in terms of rainfall and snowfall, Kimitch said.

The Metropolitan Water District said that the 2020 and 2021 water years had the least rainfall on record for two consecutive years. In addition, Lake Oroville, the State Water Project’s main reservoir, reached its lowest point last year since it was filled in the 1970s.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked people statewide to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 15%, but so far residents have been slow to meet that goal.

Several water districts have instituted water conservation measures. On Tuesday, the board of the East Bay Municipal Utility District in Northern California voted to reduce water usage by 10% and cap daily usage for some 1.4 million customers in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, including Oakland and Berkeley.

Households will be allowed to use 1,646 gallons (6,231 liters) per day — far above the average household usage of about 200 gallons (757 liters) daily — and the agency expected that only 1% to 2% of customers will exceed the limit, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Metropolitan Water District’s six client water agencies in the areas affected by Tuesday’s board action must implement either the one-day-a-week outdoor use restriction or find other ways of making equivalent reductions in water demand.

If the local agencies fail to meet the reduction goals they will be fined up to $2,000 per acre-foot of water, Metropolitan Water District Chief Executive Officer Deven Upadhyay said Wednesday. An acre-foot is about 325,850 gallons (about 1.23 million liters).

It will in turn be up to the local agencies to determine how they will enforce the watering restrictions on their customers. Upadhyay noted that an exception allows for hand-watering trees to maintain “ecologically important tree canopies.”

The Metropolitan Water District will monitor water use and if the restrictions don’t work, it could order a total ban on outdoor watering in the affected areas as soon as September.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers have taken the first step toward lowering the standard for how much water people use in their homes.

California’s current standard for residential indoor water use is 55 gallons (208 liters) per person per day. The rule doesn’t directly apply to customers, meaning regulators don’t cite individuals for using more water than permitted. Instead, the state requires water agencies to meet that standard across all of its customers.

But the state Senate overwhelmingly voted last week to lower the standard to 47 gallons (178 liters) per person per day starting in 2025 and 42 gallons (159 liters) per person per day beginning in 2030.

The bill has not yet passed the Assembly, meaning it is still likely months away from becoming law.

The U.S. West is in the middle of a severe drought just a few years after record rain and snowfall filled reservoirs to capacity.

Scientists say this boom-and-bust cycle is driven by climate change that will be marked by longer, more severe droughts. A study from earlier this year found the U.S. West was in the middle of a megadrought that is now the driest in at least 1,200 years. —- Associated Press writer John Antczak contributed to this report.

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